Promising steps towards a just energy transition in Colombia at the end of 2022


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Colombia is gradually moving towards a just transition. The following timeline is a brief account of the progress made in 2022 in terms of social dialogue and cooperation at a (inter)national level from a social and labour perspective.

1. Meeting with the Colombian Government

On 2 November, the Workers' Collective for a Just Transition met with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the National Mining Agency (ANM) and the Colombian Ministry of Labour to share the communities’ and trade unions’ main mining and energy sector concerns. As a result of this meeting (organised by CNV Internationaal), a dialogue table was created and a pilot project initiated in the department on the closure of mining operations

2. Public hearing 

On 3 November, the mine closure issue in the Prodeco case was addressed at a public hearing. The National Environmental Licensing Authority (ANLA), the National Mining Agency (ANM) and the Colombian Ministry of Mines were present, along with communities, coal sector unions and delegates from the Prodeco business group.

  • Prodeco assured that there is no plan for mine closure because their contract with the State commits them to handing over the mines in operating conditions for a possible new operator; however, the closure plan was proposed in 2016 to be implemented in 2020. Despite this, the titles were handed over to the government in the middle of exploration.
  •  The government proposed for the department of Cesar to be the country's energy transition centre.
  • Álvaro Pardo, President of the National Mining Agency, said that they are working to take stock of all the company's obligations and to determine which have been fulfilled and which have not. The contract will be terminated once it is clear that they have fulfilled all their obligations.

3. COP 27- Climate change conference

On 8 November at the Climate Change Conference (COP27), the Colombian Ministry of Mines and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a declaration that promotes the energy transition process in the country, prioritising green hydrogen, among other green technologies.

4. Launch of social dialogue roadmap

On 9 November, the Colombian government introduced the "Social dialogue to define the roadmap for a just energy transition in Colombia" document. Based on the principles of equity, gradualism, binding participation and knowledge-intensive energy transition, it proposes the outlining of an agenda to define the guidelines for the transition, thereby establishing a social dialogue with different stakeholders over a period of 6 months.

5. Dialogue Forum 

The Interinstitutional and Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue forum on Just Energy Transition in coal mining, organised by CNV Internationaal took place on 14 December. Members of the Workers' Collective for a Just Transition shared with the Colombian government their perspective on the impact of the return of mining titles by Prodeco, the absence of a labour perspective in the face of mine closures as well as their proposals for a just energy transition in the country.

6. Social Dialogue 

On 21 December 2022, as a starting point for the construction of the Just Energy Transition roadmap, the first "Social Dialogue of the Cesar Corridor of Life" was organised by the Colombian government. The Workers’ Collective present expressed its concern about situations the mining sector faces. In addition:

  • The Colombian Ministry of Labour stated that the dialogue should be oriented towards the generation of proposals for alternative productive projects in the framework of the Plan for the Closure of open-pit coal mining. 
  • Regarding ecological restoration, the Ministry of Environment explained that there is a budget for 2023 to start immediately with $26 billion for participatory ecological restoration with the people. On the other hand, Drummond has a $32 billion compensation plan and a responsibility to restore 22,000 hectares. The company's debt should converge with the Plan. 
  • The Workers' Collective for a Just Transition shared its proposals and made visible the violations of the rights of mining workers by multinationals

7. Education for reconvertion

On December 27, CNV Internationaal, together with Sintracarbón, Sintramienergética and other mining unions, met with the director of the Colombian state's labour training agency (SENA) to agree on the creation of a labour reconversion roundtable in the mining corridor, focusing on the regions affected by the return of mining titles by Prodeco

Publication date 25 01 2023